If you’re tired of outrage, let’s do something.
“Top 5 Reasons People are Leaving the Church”
“Church, Why the Younger Generations are Leaving You”
“An Open Letter to the Church: Why I am Done with You”
While these may not be actual titles of the articles I’ve been reading lately, they are quite similar. Reasons for the decreasing population of twenty- and thirty-somethings has been repeatedly linked to everything from the “showiness” of church to the lack of outward focus and the commercialization of church organization. And lest you think that this article is just going to offer yet another reason (and yes, I have my thoughts on the “whys” as well), be at ease because that is not my intent.
Not because I want to bury my head in the sand and pretend that nothing is happening to the church today (I’m tired of outrage, too). Not because I disagree with the other bloggers and articles that choose to address the topic head on. Not because I think the situation doesn’t deserve attention or has legitimate evidence behind it.
In fact, I actually agree with most of them. I think it’s very telling that in a recent survey of 5,000 people, over 72% of White Evangelicals indicated that being an American held the same importance to them as being a Christian. If that’s the message we are giving our kids and youth, guess what happens when they get disillusioned with something in America? Their faith is attached to it. It’s not Jesus. It’s something else. And it’s not okay.
But it’s not the end of the story.
You see, when we simply blame the institution, we negate all the good that comes with it too. When we blame big churches, we miss the big things those churches are doing for the Lord. When we blame denominations, we disregard entire segments of the church who are serving Jesus.
The reality is that many people are leaving the church. But there is another generation quickly coming into adulthood (Generation Alpha) and if we spend all of our time, energy, and study on figuring out what reforms we need to get those who have lost back, we could very easily neglect the generation following closely behind.
My website is named REFOCUS, and as the name indicates, I firmly believe we need to refocus. I’m less concerned with the size of church building and their multiple worship formats as I am about how they are discipling the next generation.
If You’re Tire of Outrage, Here Are a Few Questions
What is church to our kids, the ones inside the walls of the church right now?
Is it a place you go or is it a life you live as a member of Christ’s body?
What is Christianity to our kids?
Is it being a good American or being a follower of Christ?
What is faith to our kids?
Is it a denominational label you wear with pride or hope realized in serving as the hands and feet of Jesus?
Who is God to our kids?
Is He a Santa Claus type being in the sky who loves you and wants to give you things or is He the Triune God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Creator and Lord of All?Are we so busy discovering what’s wrong with the church that we neglect to instill in our children what is right with Jesus and the Body of Christ?
The other day I told a friend that I am tired of outrage. I’m tired of laying blame. I’m tired of dissecting and analyzing and judging and criticizing. Not because there aren’t serious issues that need to be addressed. Not because there aren’t legitimate concerns that need to be heard. But because I think we need to be more than outraged. We need to actually be living out what it means to be the church in our own neighborhood, our own communities and our own homes.
Because I have three children who are almost grown and they don’t need to hear what is wrong with the institution of the church; they need to hear what is right about Jesus. They need me to live Jesus in front of them, share Jesus everyday with them, and be Jesus to the world around them. Whether I am walking into a multi-million dollar facility on Sunday morning or into a living room in someone’s home, they need to see, hear, touch, and know Jesus, not what is wrong with the church next door.
We can either spend the next few years being outraged or we can choose today, that “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Let’s choose to invest in parents/caregivers so they can pour Jesus into their kids. Let’s invest in our church, no matter what it looks like, so our children grow up in a community of fellow believers.
It’s time to stop the blame game and start living church like it’s for real and not a game.
Because no matter what, a new generation is growing quickly, and they have not left us yet. Start fighting for them now so we don’t have to blame the church later when they leave. Our God is big enough, strong enough, and amazing enough to show each one His Love as long as we consistently point our children to Him.
This article for those tired of outrage originally appeared here, and is used by permission.